By OMODELE ADIGUN
Having kicked off the implementation of this year’s budget with the release of N400 billion last month, the Federal Government has awarded 14 contracts worth over N47.8 billion across the country, investigation has shown. The contract awards are coming amid fears that the 2013 Budget may also suffer the same fate of poor implementation that has been the fate of the previous ones.
The approved contracts, as specified on the website of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), were grouped into two categories including one for the acquisition and utilization of multi-user licence and Satelite imagery of Nigeria, and 13 contracts (Phase 1 of Category B and C projects) for the construction/rehabilitation of federal roads across the country.
The cost of the former was put at about N3.691 billion, while Category B projects are to gulp about N33.63 billion, with about N14.19 billion earmarked for the Category C projects. Breaking Phase 1 projects into details, BPP listed them in Category B to include the rehabilitation of Vandeikya-Obudu-Obudu Cattle Ranch road (phase II) in Benue State; Phase 1 of Construction of Mbaise-Ngwa road in Imo/Abia states, with bridges at Imo River,
(Phase I); construction of Abiriba-Arochukwu-Ohafia road (Phase I) in Abia State; rehabilitation of Makurdi-Gboko road (Phase I: Wannune-Yandev section) in Benue State; construction of Ohafia (Abia State)-Oso (Ebonyi State) road; rehabilitation of Section IA of Sokoto-Tambuwal-Jega-Kontagora-Makera road (Phase I) in Sokoto/Kebbi/Niger states, and the rehabilitation of Section I of Sokoto-Tambuwal-Jega-Kontagora-Makera road (Phase I) in Sokoto/Kebbi/Niger states.
“Under the Category C projects, we have the rehabilitation of Kunya-Kanya-Babura-Babban Mutum Road in Jigawa State: Construction of Zing-Yakoko-Monkin Road in Taraba State: Rehabilitation of Alkaleri-Bauchi Road In Bauchi State: the construction of Aguoba-Owa-Mbagbu Owa-Ebenebe (Anambra State border) with spur to Awaha-Oyofo-Iwollow Road in Enugu State: Construction of Offa bye-pass in Offa LGA of Kwara State and the Construction of Ikot-Ekpene Border-Aba-Owerri Dualisation Section I, Phase I in Akwa Ibom/Abia/Imo states. “Meanwhile, to ensure that the 2013 Appropriation Bill does not become a still-birth like the ones before it, particularly that of 2012, the President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN),
Mr. Adedoyin Owolabi, recently advised the Federal Government to focus on its proper execution in the remaining months of the year,” the bureau revealed. The ICAN boss, who gave the counsel at the institute’s symposium on the 2013 Budget said: “Since we have, avoidably, lost two months of the year to political bickering over the contents of the budget, we, therefore, urge the Executive and Legislature to close ranks to ensure scrupulous implementation and monitoring of its various provisions.
It is particularly note-worthy that the Federal minister of Special Duties has been assigned the responsibility of monitoring the implementation of various constituency projects across the country.” He added that such monitoring should cover other projects envisaged by the performance contract signed by the President with ministers, saying: “We desire value for money and nothing else.” Owolabi’s advice may not be unconnected with the disappointing performance of the 2012 budget which recorded just about 12.6 per cent implementation as of August of last year.
It was gathered that a total of N324.56 billion was cash backed, while only N184.84 billion was released as at July 20. This figure, when calculated against the total capital budget of N1.519 trillion, showed only 12.16 per cent of performance. This prompted a civil rights group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) to wallop the Federal Government on the implementation of the budget.
Its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, had said in a statement: “We are concerned that budget implementation is being trivialized and politicised by the government of President Goodluck Jonathan. Nigeria is a party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) which provides that the country’s maximum available resources must be used to satisfy the basic needs of Nigerians such as water, health, food and electricity.” According to the organisation,
“So far, there is no evidence to suggest that the allocation of resources and expenditure by this government through the 2012 budget satisfied the human rights obligations generated by ICESCR. The result is that the government has not been able to provide the minimum core of essential health care, basic shelter and housing, water and sanitation, foodstuff, as well as the most basic forms of education for millions of our people. This leads to discrimination and vulnerability, which causes further human rights violations.